Thứ Sáu, 6 tháng 11, 2015

St. Paul ties bring dancer back for 'B Madonna's' regional premiere

Dancer Maureen Fleming was born on an American Navy base in Japan where her father was a lieutenant commander, but she has plenty of history in St. Paul. Her grandmother immigrated to St. Paul from Ireland in 1910 and her uncle was a local monsignor -- Father Francis Fleming of St. Olaf Church.
From mid-elementary school through college, Fleming went to Minnesota schools such as Our Lady of Peace High School in St. Paul and the now-defunct College of St. Teresa in Winona.
Fleming lives and works in New York where she puts on workshops at New York University and is a guest artist at the Juilliard School. The regional premiere of her new piece, "B Madonna," which Fleming calls "the best of her work," is Saturday at the O'Shaughnessy at St.
Catherine University.
Her dancing almost ended before it began. When Fleming was 2 years old, she was in a car accident that caused her to lose the disc between her fourth and fifth vertebrae. It could have paralyzed her, but it inspired her to begin dancing -- twisting and untwisting her joints to increase blood flow and flexibility.
Fleming hopes "B Madonna" is as much a spiritual journey for the audience as it is for her. The choreography focuses on aligning the body's spiritual center through a series of drawn-out movements and three-dimensional video projects designed by Christopher Odo, one of Fleming's longtime collaborators.
"I'm performing one image and the same image is reflected in front and behind me," she said.
Her work with performing images is heavily influenced by her formative years spent in Japan, specifically by "Butoh," a contemplative Japanese dance developed in postwar Japan. "(Butoh) begins with an image. Instead of lifting your arm, you would imagine that a smoke ring moves up your spine and off your arm," she said. "Each movement is connected to an image. That's how I create.""You get a sense of things happening simultaneously. It becomes like a visual theater."
Butoh is more improvisational, however, while Fleming's work revolves around making choices and then assembling them to create a theme. "I record a lot of my improvisations on video and then choose moments that look like two things are happening at the same time," she said. "For example, a moment that looks like I'm being born and dying, or a moment that looks painful and pleasant."
"B Madonna" is part of the O'Shaughnessy's 19th annual Women of Substance series, which Fleming says has always interested her.
"I like the value of the Women of Substance series that you see things from different perspectives," she said. The performance also has a companion gallery exhibition called "O Black Maddona" at Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality, 1890 Randolph Ave.
, St. Paul, running through Sunday.
Fleming's performance will feature text by David Henry Hwang and music by Philip Glass performed live by pianist Bruce Brubaker, accordionist Guy Klucevsek and Taiko drummer Kaoru Watanabe.


What: "B Madonna," a performance by Maureen Fleming
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: The O'Shaughnessy, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul.

Singer Adele was inspired by Madonna for new album '25'

Los Angeles: Singer Adele has revealed that Queen of Pop Madonna's 1998 album Ray of Light was a direct inspiration for her own highly-anticipated record ‘25’. Adele's new album ‘25’ is scheduled for release November 20, reported Rolling Stone.
"You know what I found so amazing about that record? That's the record Madonna wrote after having her first child, and for me, it's her best. I was so all over the place after having a child, just because my chemicals were just hitting the roof and shit like that.
"I was just drifting away, and I couldn't find that many examples for myself where I was like, 'they truly came back to themselves,' until someone was like, 'Well, obviously, Ray of Light'," Adele said. The 27-year-old singer's lead single "Hello" smashed records worldwide.

Thứ Bảy, 12 tháng 9, 2015

Michael Jackson vs. Madonna: Who's the Greatest Visual Artist of All Time?

If you're a child of the '70s or '80s who grew up listening to pop music, chances are you were a fan of Prince, Madonna or Michael Jackson. These three artists dominated radio whilst pioneering the music video as an art form. They went way beyond what any other popstar before or since has achieved and all three are the reason that pop today is such a visual medium. Before this trio became a part of the public consciousness, having a great song was enough to be a star. They literally changed the rules of the pop game.
Personally, although I appreciate Prince, I wouldn't call myself a fan, and for that reason I'm just going to focus on MJ and Madge in this article. Who has the most iconic imagery? Who's tours have offered the most visual spectacle? And which of them can lay claim to the greatest music video of all time? Let's take a look back on two unparalleled careers and try to answer the question of whether Madonna or Michael Jackson is the greatest visual artist of all time.

Thriller: the beginning

Thriller might have marked the turning point for the music video as a form of promotion, but it wasn't the first of Michael's videos to make waves - that would be Billie Jean, the album's second single, which became the first music video by a black artist to get heavy rotation on MTV. That video was nothing special, but Jackson quickly followed it up with Beat It, a much bigger visual spectacle which Billboard crowned the video of the year.
But it's Thriller which truly put the music video as an art form on the map. There's nothing to be said about this epic clip which hasn't been said a million times - it's quite simply a masterpiece. The choreography in particular, which Jackson devised with Michael Peters, has spawned countless recreations over the years, and is not just synonymous with MJ but with Halloween too. The video cost half a million dollars and without it, the careers of everybody from Britney to Justin and, yes, Madonna herself, would likely never have got off the ground.

I hear you call my name...

Whilst Jackson churned out numerous visual epics in the decade that followed, often embracing the "music video as mini movie" format, Madonna discovered quickly that the best way to make an impression was to enhance her visuals with a secret ingredient she had absolute mastery over: controversy.
And what could be more controversial than presenting white middle America with a black Jesus? The clip came six years after Thriller in 1989, and depicts a black man being wrongly arrested for the murder of a white woman. Madonna, having witnessed the murder, goes to church where she finds a caged black saint who seems to be the man from the street. Crosses burn, Madonna dances in a state of undress, and curtains fall to reveal the whole thing was a performance.
There are various interpretations of the video and the way it infuses themes of race, religion and sexuality. The lyrics to the song itself - "I'm down on my knees, I want to take you there" - are basically about giving head, which you can imagine didn't go down too well when paired with the religious imagery of the video. So great was the outrage that Pepsi, who had just paid Madonna $5m to use Like a Prayer in a new commercial, dropped their association with her. (She got to keep the pay cheque.)
The controversy didn't scare Madonna. If anything, it fuelled her, and the power of sexual imagery became the blueprint for most of her videos in the following years. The interesting thing about the scandal was that it actually had a negative effect on her sales - Like a Prayer was a number one single, but the album sold 10 million copies fewer than True Blue three years earlier. Whilst MJ's videos were strictly a promotional tool for his music, Madonna's had become completely at one with her image, and arguably helped create a brand around her which was more important than her record sales.

After the '90s: Madonna's continued dominance

By the year 2000, Michael's public image had become so tarnished by plastic surgery and damaging allegations that his music was no longer a talking point. 1995's HIStory had sold 3.5 million copies in the US, half the figure of Dangerousfour years previously, and he hadn't released anything in three years.
Madonna had been through a quiet period of her own, releasing the deathly dull Bedtime Stories in 1994 before focusing on the movie Evita, but she came back in a massive way in '98 with Ray of Light. The video for lead single Frozenmarked a complete creative rebirth for the Queen of Pop.
Controversy had been replaced by artistry. Shot by Chris Cunningham, whose previous video credits were for relatively unknown acts like Aphex Twin, Frozenis a surrealist gothic masterpiece which is less concerned with a storyline (in fact, it doesn't have one - it's just about Madonna shapeshifting into a black dog and a flock of birds) than with creating something potent and visually arresting.
Whilst Michael's videos had more or less covered the same ground thematically during the '90s without any real change in visual style, Madonna had moved the game on. Already known for her ability to reinvent, Frozen told the world not to get comfortable. Expect only the unexpected. And so, whilst the video for MJ'sYou Rock My World barely caused a ripple in 2001, Madonna had shapeshifted seamlessly into the most important visual artist of the new millennium.

Bringing the imagery to the stage

But for both artists, the music video was never the pinnacle of their art: it was the ability to put on a performance which elevated them way beyond their peers. Their legacies were created on the stage. Jackson only toured solo three times, but all three were among the biggest concerts tours of all time. He could sell out Wembley in a matter of seconds... five times over.
This performance of Bad from Yokohama, Japan in 1987 illustrates perfectly Michael's approach to performance. The spotlight is on him, the theatrics are minimal, and there are no dancers vying for your attention. Despite the minimal stage set-up, it's absolutely impossible not to be awed by Jackson's charisma and energy. The crowd in Japan seem a little reserved, but in this clip of Black or White from Wembley in '92 every single person in the audiences is losing their mind.
By contrast, Madonna's tours are notorious for the sheer spectacle they deliver. Before she was a singer, Madonna had trained to be a dancer and left home at sixteen to follow her dream in New York City. She'd started at the bottom and her appreciation of dance as an art form is inherently clear in each of her tours. Unlike Michael, she's just one component of something bigger.
This performance of American Life from 2004's Re-invention Tour brings the song's highly controversial anti-war music video (it features a doctored clip of George Bush using a hand grenade to light a cigar, to give just one example of why it went down like a lead balloon in America) to life on stage. In terms of choreography, it's militaristic and cold. Whilst Michael's performances were all about channeling the energy of the song into the audience, Madonna is a pro at using performance to make a statement on a bigger scale - not that everybody appreciates that. The Re-invention Tour split opinion, with some fans remarking that they'd expected to attend a concert, not a political rally. Nonetheless, theAmerican Life performance is a great example of Madonna's unrivalled ability to marry her the artificial aspects of pop music with much bigger themes.
Sometimes, though, you just want a fun performance, and Madonna's incredible thirteen-minute, four-song medley from the 2012 Super Bowl has already gone down in history as one of the all-time classic half-time sets, exceeding the shows put on by the likes of Bruno Mars and Beyonce in the years since. Madonna commands the attentions of every person in the 100,000 capacity stadium - not to mention 100 million+ viewers across America - in a way no other artist could.
Except for one.

So - who's the greatest visual artist of all-time?

It's the million-dollar question, and it's all but impossible to answer.
Michael had one performance style; Madonna's is the polar opposite. Michael has the most famous music video of all time and is single handedly responsible for popularising the music video format. Madonna's music videos reinvented her image to keep her relevant as a performing artist further into her career. And yet Michael's This Is It tour was on course to be a monster comeback... every counter argument has a counter argument. The truth is, it's completely subjective.
Me, personally? On a purely visual level, and having been a chart-topping artist further into the 21st century than Jackson, I think Madonna takes the title. From the Blond Ambition cone bra to the pink leotard from Hung Up, to the incredible spectacle of her six global concert tours this side of the year 2000 alone, she has proved herself to be the master of the visual medium.

Madonna kicks her new tour off in rebel style

Queen of Pop Madonna has kicked off her Rebel Heart Tour in Montreal. 

The 57-year-old iconic singer, who has been wowing audiences for over three decades, belted out a selection of old and new and even performed Material Girl from the first time since her Blonde Ambition Tour in the 1990s. 

DJ and producer Diplo warmed the crowd up with an hour's introduction set before the lady of the hour opened the show with a video in which she discussed topics including censorship and dictatorship. 

Her entrance was as flamboyant as her fans know her personality to be and she descended on to the stage in a cage and then gave concert-goers two of the most energetic hours they may have ever seen. 

Ending the show on a high note, Madonna draped a Canadian flag around her as she sang "Holiday" to a crowd who lapped it all up. 

Her Rebel Heart album came out in March of this year and the tour continues to March 2016 where it finishes in Australia.

Thứ Hai, 17 tháng 8, 2015

Madonna says Elvis Presley possessed her

Madonna felt the spirit of Elvis Presley pass through her when he died, according to her brother-in-law, singer songwriter Joe Henry.

Elvis Presley died 38 years ago on August 16, 1977. August 16 is also Madonna's birthday.

Henry, co-wrote 'Jump' and 'Don't Tell Me' for his famous sister-in-law, as well as various album tracks.

In a post at his Facebook page Henry writes, 'I have told this tale before, but it bears repeating: when Elvis Presley died on this date in 1977, this upstart professed in real-time that she felt his spirit had passed out of his body and through her own in exodus.

'I laughed at her then for such outrageous self-possession, at the arrogance that I assumed must allow her to declare such publicly'.

Henry met Madonna in 1975 when they were both Michigan students at the same school. He had just entered his Sophomore year, she was a Senior. They were both members of the Thespian Society. They once played Mother and Son together in a school play.

Henry says, 'she was whip-smart and short on patience; and to tell the truth, she scared me more than a little. But along with her sister Paula, her presence upon my landscape nudged open a door through which I would pass and find my life utterly and forever changed.that unusual and sprawling family becoming, years later, my own'.

After knowing Madonna for 40 years Henry says, 'like anyone, I can sometimes forget to see the flesh and blood/heart and mind behind the parade float that is her public persona. But then I will find myself across the kitchen table from her, sharing a martini, and be additionally shocked to recognize anew the compact, terse-yet-compassionate human at the switches'.

Madonna has three brothers Anthony (born 1956), (born 1957) and Christopher (born 1960) and two sisters Paula (born 1959) and Melanie (born 1962). Joe Henry is married to Melanie. They have two children.

R.I.P Elvis Presley, January 8, 1935.

Happy birthday, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone born August 16, 1958

Madonna's outrageous gypsy-themed birthday party

 Madonna turned 57 on 16 August in typically flamboyant fashion surrounded by handsome young men. Her children, Lourdes, 18, and Rocco, 15, plus nine-year-olds Mercy and David, who both were adopted from Malawi, also threw themselves into the fun.

Rebel heart Madonna has every intention of growing old disgracefully
For her gypsy-themed party, the Queen of Pop wore a see through black gown, with a floral head dress. The centrepiece of the celebrations was a bar featuring a huge letter M in lights.
She was presented with a cake featuring a figurine dressed in her style with leopard-print knickers and a red top. It was emblazoned with the words 'Rebel Heart', which is the title of her latest album and a reference to her free-spirited ways.
Madonna posted pictures of the whole event with captions in praise of Leos and thanking her 'rebel hearts', as she also calls her fans, for their good wishes.
Madonna and her 'princess' Lourdes
The other important Leo in her life is son Rocco, who turned 15 last week at a birthday bash thrown by the pop star and her ex-husband Guy Ritchie.
In a clip posted to Instagram the proud parents looked on as the teenager blew out his birthday candles. Madonna was seen holding the cake while everyone sang. Then the film director tenderly put his arm around his eldest son and gave him a kiss on his head.
Madonna with some of her handsome young friends
A few days ahead of her own birthday Madonna also shared a throwback picture with her other ex-husband Sean Penn, who was born on 17 August. She had written: "It's almost our birthdays. Two Leos", noting that the black and white photo was taken by another Leo, well-known photographer Herb Ritts.

Chủ Nhật, 2 tháng 8, 2015

Madonna’s Instagram: Rebel Heart Tour costume revealed

Who’s That Girl………… #rebelhearttour
Madonna's Who's That Girl costume for Rebel Heart Tour

Nicole Kidman on meeting Madonna

“I remember just being so excited to wear [the gown to the Oscars],” Kidman said. “And then I remember Madonna coming up to me at the after party — and I was, you know, still very new to everything — and saying ‘best dressed! Best dressed!'” Remember, in the primitive, pre-social media days of ’97, the notion of “Best Dressed” wasn’t quite the orchestrated production that it is today.
Nicole Kidman with Madonna

Madonna Scores 46th No. 1 on Dance Club Songs Chart

Madonna’s back at No. 1 on the Dance Club Songs chart, as her latest single, “B**** I’m Madonna” rises 2-1 on the chart dated Aug. 15.
It’s the diva’s 46th No. 1 on this chart, and extends her own record for the most No. 1s on a singular Billboard chart. (She broke the record in May, when she surpassed George Strait’s 44 leaders on the Hot Country Songs chart.)
The new Aug. 15-dated Dance Club Songs chart — which measures reports submitted by a national sample of club DJs — will post to Billboard’s websites on Aug. 4.
“B**** I’m Madonna,” featuring Nicki Minaj, is the third single from Madonna’s Rebel Heart album. The set debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, marking her 21st top 10 effort.
For Minaj, “Madonna” is her fifth No. 1. She also hit the top with “Turn Me On” (David Guetta featuring Minaj), “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (Madonna featuring Minaj & M.I.A.), “Pound the Alarm” and “Beauty and a Beat” (Justin Bieber featuring Minaj).

Mad for Madonna even at P3K-P57K tickets

‘HORN-Y’ The upcoming Philippine leg ofMadonna’s Rebel Heart tour promises to be a theatrical spectacle, as sampled by her performance at the 2015 Grammy Awards held in February in Los Angeles. PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK PAGE/MADONNA‘HORN-Y’ The upcoming Philippine leg ofMadonna’s Rebel Heart tour promises to be a theatrical spectacle, as sampled by her performance at the 2015 Grammy Awards held in February in Los Angeles. PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK PAGE/MADONNA

The Philippines may still be struggling to curb poverty and unemployment, but the country’s middle class seems to have adapted to a lifestyle that used to be the domain of the rich and famous.

Proof: Madonna’s Manila concert at SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Feb. 24, 2016, is more than six months away, but already, there is much ado about getting tickets now, “before they run out,” a midlevel corporate executive told the Inquirer.

Those who have made a purchase proudly posted the tickets’ image on their Facebook pages.

And while most Filipinos also took to social media to comment about the outrageous ticket prices—from P3,150 to P57,750—many others did not hesitate to respond to the organizers’ promotional offer: priority seats for members of Madonna’s official fan club Icon, Citibank cardholders and Globe Telecom subscribers.

Calculated move

It took one week before the official announcement on July 29 that the Manila concert, part of Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” world tour, will have a second night on Feb. 25, 2016, although the Inquirer had reported it in advance (Madonna in Manila confirmed: 2 nights at MOA Arena,, July 1).

READ: Madonna in Manila confirmed: 2 nights at MOA Arena

The decision to hold back the announcement of the second night was a calculated move, sources say, to test if the Philippine market was ready for advance ticket sales, especially for a top concert act like Madonna.
Apparently, the scheme worked because it afforded those with a tight budget to buy tickets via credit card or charge to their mobile phone bills.

But why are the tickets here more expensive than those in other countries?
International publications have noted that Madonna’s last few tours abroad sold tickets in the range of $300–$350 (P13,500-P15,750) and the cheapest at $35 (P1,575).

An article in mentioned that the average ticket for the Rebel Heart tour is priced at $452.33 (P20,354.85), adding that “Madonna surpassed Fleetwood Mac as the artist with the most expensive tour (51.5 percent more) in 2015… The Oct. 24 (2014) show in Las Vegas became the most expensive date with average price of $949.21 (P42,714.45) while the cheapest tickets were available for $164.30 (P7,393.50) at the Edmonton (Canada) date…”

Concert cost

According to Inquirer sources, the cost of bringing Madonna and her entourage of dancers, live band and production crew to the Philippines is approximately $4 million (P180 million), excluding hotel accommodations and other production expenses.

That’s an awful lot of money, and it took the SM Group, which owns MOA Arena, to bankroll the amount, sources said. SM’s founder Henry Sy Sr. may be the country’s richest man, but producing concerts is still a business—even if Madonna’s Manila shows could just be for prestige, the sources pointed out.

For a time, another group was determined to bring her to perform at another venue, the Iglesia ni Cristo-owned Philippine Arena, where tickets could be priced lower since it is about five times bigger than MOA Arena. In fact, a Philippine Arena representative had aggressively expressed his desire to bag the deal when he called up the Inquirer and said, “Sa amin na lang si Madonna (We want Madonna)”—even before finding out who the promoters are.

The Rebel Heart tour is said to be the 56-year-old pop queen’s third and final tour under the 10-year multirights deal with Live Nation, signed in 2007 for $120 million.

Set list

As for her Filipino fans who may be wondering what their idol would be singing at her MOA Arena concerts, here’s word from the Macomb Daily, a publication in Madonna’s hometown Michigan: “By July 2015, Madonna was still working on the set list with her team of creative directors, producers, designers and choreographers. She described the tour as a ‘characteristically theatrical spectacle’ and would include songs from her whole career.”

A recent article on said: “However, picking the set list was hard since the singer wanted to perform the ‘Rebel Heart’ (album) songs as well as her old discography, too, in order to satisfy all her fans. She found the task challenging since ‘thematically the songs— the old and the new—they have to go together; sonically they have to go together.’”

Show us your Basquiat!

Calling all Rebel Hearts artists! Your online fan art has really caught Madonna’s eye and moved her. She has asked if you can submit your best creations, from any era, style and look. Madonna has been inspired by your creativity and would like to display a digital gallery of your artwork live during the upcoming Rebel Heart tour. To be eligible to participate, you must be at least 18 years old and the sole owner and creator of the artwork and other modifications to the photograph, and you must sign your creation with your name -- we want to make sure to give credit where deserved! 
Upload your creation as a high quality TIFF or JPEG file that is 800 x 960 pixels minimum in size (larger formats welcome) to your favorite file sharing service and e-mail us the link to it at before July 30th 2015.
Looking forward to seeing your works of art! What do you got, Show us your Basquiat!
By submitting, posting or uploading your artwork to us, you are confirming that  (1) you are the only owner and creator of your submission and no one else owns any rights to your submission; (2) the only name on your submission is your name and you are 18 years or older; (3) you grant us and our designee(s) a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, fully sub-licensable, irrevocable, transferable, non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, modify, create derivative works from, distribute, digitally perform, publicly perform and publicly display and otherwise exploit in any manner your submission, and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed, for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without compensation to or prior approval by you ,and you have all rights necessary to make this grant of rights to us; (4) your submission is not subject to any obligation  of confidentiality, attribution or otherwise and does not violate any applicable laws, rules or regulations; (5) you indemnify us and our designees, and we are not and will not be liable, for any use or disclosure of your submission and (6) your submission is and will be exclusively governed by and subject to the laws of the State of New York, United States of America (including, without limitation, its laws pertaining to copyright) and you irrevocably waive any "moral rights" or other similar rights or claims regarding attribution of authorship or integrity of your submission pursuant to any law throughout the world.

“Bitch, I’m Madonna” Up to No. 2 on U.S. Dance Chart

In its sixth week on the U.S. Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart, Bitch, I’m Madonna is Going Hard and Up to No. 2 (for the week of August 8, 2015).
The Queen is blowing up the dance chart!
Thanks to MadonnaTribe contributor Rob from Berkeley, California USA.

Madonna adds a second show in Manila

By overwhelming demand, Madonna is adding a second show in the Philippines! The second night of her Rebel Heart Tour is set for February 25, 2016, again at Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila!
The pre-sale for Manila is open to all registered Week #10 Icon Live Pass holders. Lifetime Legacy member priority access will begin at 10am PHT. The general public sale starts on Sunday, August 2nd.

“Bitch I’m Madonna” extends the Queen’s record for most No. 1s on a single chart

From an article by Keith Caulfield,
Madonna’s back at No. 1 on Dance Club Songs, as Bitch I’m Madonna rises 2-1 on the chart dated Aug. 15.
It’s her 46th No. 1 on this chart, and extends her own record for the most No. 1s on a singular Billboard chart. Madonna broke the record in May, when she surpassed George Strait’s 44 leaders on the Hot Country Songs chart.
The new Aug. 15-dated Dance Club Songs chart – which measures reports submitted by a national sample of club DJs – will post to Billboard’s websites on Aug. 4.
Bitch I’m Madonna, featuring Nicki Minaj, is the third single from Madonna’s Rebel Heart album. The set debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, marking her 21st top 10 effort.
For Minaj, the song is her fifth No. 1 and her second one with the Queen of Pop, following MDNA’s Give Me All Your Luvin’.
Check out for an updated look at Madonna’s 46 Dance Club Songs No. 1s, beginning with the double-sided single “Holiday”/”Lucky Star,” which reached the top the week of Sept. 24, 1983. You’ll notice that one of her No. 1s is an entire album: You Can Dance (1988), a collection of mostly remixes of previously-released songs (and one new cut, “Spotlight”). Prior to Feb. 23, 1991, the chart wasn’t always song-specific and full albums were, at some points, allowed to chart.

Chủ Nhật, 26 tháng 7, 2015

Rebel Heart (Madonna album)

Rebel Heart is the thirteenth studio album by American singer Madonna. It was released on March 6, 2015 by Interscope Records. Following the completion of the MDNA era, Madonna worked on the album throughout 2014, co-writing and co-producing it with various musicians, including DiploAvicii, and Kanye West. She teased by uploading pictures of her recording sessions on herInstagram account. Working with a number of collaborators on the album, Madonna faced problem in keeping a cohesive sound and direction for Rebel Heart, since her previous efforts have been only with a core group of people.
Thematically Rebel Heart represents the two different sides of the singer; listening to one's heart and being a rebel; the themes grew organically during the writing and recording sessions. Musically, it is a pop record which merges an array of genres such as 1990shousetrap and reggae, as well as the usage of acoustic guitars and gospel choir. Some of the songs are autobiographical in nature while others talk about love, personal reflections, as well as introspection of Madonna's career. Rebel Heart features guest appearances from boxer Mike Tyson and rappers Nicki MinajNas, and Chance the Rapper.
The record had been set for a March 2015 release, with the first single to be released on Valentine's Day. But after a flurry of unexpected album content leaks, the singer released the album for pre-order on iTunes Store on December 20, 2014, with six songs being available for download. Police investigation led to an Israeli man being arrested, who was charged for hacking into Madonna's computer and leaking the songs. The cover art for the deluxe edition of the album became popular, leading to numerous memes being created on Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter. To promote the album, Madonna made several television appearances and performances, including the 57th Annual Grammy Awards and the 2015 Brit Awards. Further promotion for the album would come from the Rebel Heart Tour, which will start from September 2015 and continue till March 2016 through North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. "Living for Love", "Ghosttown" and "Bitch I'm Madonna" were released as singles from the album.
Rebel Heart received predominantly positive reviews from music critics; multiple reviewers called it her best effort in a decade. They found that unlike her last two studio efforts Hard Candy (2008) and MDNA (2012), the album was progressive in its sound. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and the UK Albums Chart. It peaked at number one in various countries across the world, including major music markets such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, while reaching the top ten of the charts in France, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, and Sweden.


  • 1 Background and development
  • 2 Writing and recording sessions
  • 3 Titling and themes
  • 4 Music and lyrical interpretation
  • 5 Release, leaks, and artwork
  • 6 Promotion
    • 6.1 Live performances
    • 6.2 Rebel Heart Tour
  • 7 Critical response
  • 8 Commercial reception
  • 9 Track listing
  • 10 Credits and personnel
  • 11 Charts
  • 12 Certifications
  • 13 Release history
  • 14 See also
  • 15 References
  • 16 External links

Background and development

Following the release of her twelfth studio album, MDNA (2012), Madonna embarked on The MDNA Tour to promote it.[1] The tour courted many controversial subjects such as violence, firearms, human rights, nudity and politics. Lawsuits were created against Madonna from the concerts.[2] She was enraged by many of these incidents, which she claimed was "injustice" against human beings.[3] In September 2013, she released secretprojectrevolution, a short film directed by her and Steven Klein, dealing with artistic freedom and human rights. The film also launched a global initiative called Art for Freedom to promote freedom of expression.[4] She clarified on L'Uomo Vogue that her next album would be connected with Art for Freedom, saying that she "had" to be committed to the initiative and use her voice as an artist.[5]
By December 2013, Madonna's manager Guy Oseary commented that the singer was "eager to get started" on her next album.[6] However, she had another project in mind, developing the screenplay for the Andrew Sean Greer novel, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells. Madonna decided to split her time between writing the screenplay and writing songs for the new album.[7] In February 2014, Madonna confirmed that she had already begun working on her thirteenth studio album, saying "I'm right now in the process of talking to various co-writers and producers and talking about where I want to go with my music".[8] Working with a number of collaborators on the album, Madonna faced problem in keeping a cohesive sound and direction for Rebel Heart, since her previous efforts have been with only a core group of people developing the music. She observed that a lot of the people she enlisted would not stay in one city at a time due to their different projects, resulting in Madonna not finishing her songs. "So, I was just the person standing there with a clipboard in the headlights, going 'Ok!' A little bit like a school teacher," she admitted.[9]

Writing and recording sessions

By March 2014, Madonna started posting a number of images on social media website Instagram, where she hinted at possible songwriters and collaborators with hashtagcaptions. First she posted about going into the recording studio with Swedish DJ and producer Avicii, followed by another image of them a few days later, with the caption "The End of a long week with Viking Leader AKA DJ Virgo AKA Avicii! So many great songs!".[6][10] Record producer Carl Falk talked to newspaper Dagens Nyheter in April 2014 about the sessions with Madonna and Avicii. He recalled that eleven demos were recorded within a week at Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood, with acoustic guitars and piano. A total of six personnel were selected by Avicii's manager Arash "Ash" Pour Nouri. They were divided into two groups, the first one consisting of Falk, Rami Yacoub, and Savan Kotecha and the second group consisting of Salem Al FakirVincent Pontare, and Magnus Lidehäll. Avicii worked with both the groups in creating the demo songs, while Madonna arrived at the studio in the afternoon and stayed till 7 am. She worked closely with both teams while writing and changing melodies, and was in charge of the process.[11]
Black-and-white photo of Avicii smiling
Diplo looking down wearing a blue and yellow headphone
Two of the collaborators with Madonna on the album included Avicii (left) and Diplo (right)
A few days later Madonna posted the image of a sunset with the words "Rebel Heart" on them, and a caption which the media interpreted as lyrics of a new song. The lines posted were: "Day turns into night. I won't give up the fight. Don't want to get to the end of my days... saying I wasn't amazed."[12] Further images showed Madonna with singer Natalia Kills in front of a microphone, and Martin Kierszenbaum, the founder and chairman of Cherrytree Records and senior executive of A&R forInterscope Records, Madonna's label.[6] By mid-April 2014, she also revealed the names of songwriters Toby Gad and Mozellaand record producer Symbolyc One on Instagram with images of the group working in studio.[13][14] The list of personnel extended to include producer Ariel Rechtshaid and sound engineer Nick Rowe.[15] In an interview with Sirius XM Radio, Kierszenbaum described the recording process:
We were supposed to be with her in the studio for a couple of days. She kindly invited us to stay a little longer. We don't know what's going to end up on the album but it was an absolute you know honor... For me being such a fan for so long it was so exciting to hear her vocal in the room right next to me, coming out of her head really sounding exactly like all those records we all love and she's a pleasure to work with because she's so in tune with who she is and what she wants to sing. I don't know. It's really great collaborating with her and Natalia is such a great writer.[16]
In May 2014, Madonna posted a selfie where she talked about working with American DJ Diplo.[17] Madonna had invited him for her annual Oscar party, but he could not make it. They eventually started talking about music through texts and decided to collaborate on the album.[18] In an interview with Idolator, Diplo explained that Madonna had asked him to provide his "craziest record" for the album. Together they wrote and recorded seven songs and Diplo added that "Those records are gonna be crazy-sounding. We really pushed the envelope with some of the stuff we were doing... [S]he was up for anything. I love when an artist gives a producer the confidence he needs to work with them, and Madonna was very open-minded to my ideas."[19] One song was composed out of a hook Madonna had sung while drinking in the studio, and Diplo described it as "super weird". Another one (later confirmed as "Living for Love") had almost 20 versions ranging from a piano ballad to an EDM composition, ultimately Madonna and Diplo compromising on a middle level. Rechtshaid and British singer MNEK also joined for writing sessions with them, improving the verse of the song.[9][18][20] Diplo also confirmed another track, known as "Bitch I'm Madonna", which he believed would push lyrical boundary for a pop song.[21] Both Alicia Keys and Ryan Tedder confirmed working on the album, saying that they contributed to the songwriting with Keys playing piano on "Living for Love".[9][22][23] Two other songs, "Messiah" and "Devil Pray", were confirmed by Madonna in different interviews.[24][25]

Titling and themes

Thematically, Caryn Ganz from Rolling Stone felt that the album focused on two subjects: listening to one's heart and being a rebel. Madonna explained that these concepts were not the initial inspiration, but emerged during the sessions with Avicii. One group of musicians explored an upbeat approach to songwriting, while the other team chose darker chords. Madonna observed two distinct themes emerging organically, and felt the need to express that.[26] So the record was titled as Rebel Heart, since it dealt with two different facades of the singer—her rebellious and renegade side, and her romantic side. She wanted it to be a dual album with each part representing these facades.[9] With French radioNRJ, she explained that Rebel Heart could be both autobiographical as well as fiction, since while writing songs she mixed both her own experiences as well as imaginary narratives. The title also stemmed from Madonna's belief that contemporary music artists are not encouraged or inspired to be rebellious, take risks or speak-up and she wanted to highlight it. However, she understood the importance of having love in the rebellious nature, so added the word Heart along with Rebel.[27]
"There's a looking back here, a missing the beginning of my career when I was surrounded by other artists... like Keith Haring and Basquiat andWarhol. It was a time when pop music was more naive and free. I was missing that feeling and that mixture of so many different worlds in New York."
—Madonna talking to Jim Farber of New York Daily News about the album.[28]
Introspection was also listed as one of the foundational themes prevalent in the album, with genuine statements of careerist and personal reflections of the artist and her "obsessive self-regard".[29] Madonna explained to Jon Pareles of The New York Timesthat although she has never looked back at her past endeavors, reminiscing about it felt correct for Rebel Heart. "And it's bittersweet for me to think about that. It just seemed like a time where I wanted to stop and look back. It's kind of like survivor guilt. How did I make it and they didn't?" she added.[7] During the development phase of the album, she became comfortable to express her ideas in front of a few people, comparing it to "writing your diary in front of somebody and reading it out loud... It was almost like an acting exercise, you know, just putting myself in a room and letting ideas flow even if I didn't feel so connected to the people."[26]
Further inspirations for the album came from Madonna's exploration of other cultures and art, literature and music, referencing them in the songs. She believed that the tracks should stand on their own, and could be broken down to minimalist production, so that one could sing them with just a guitar.[26]Madonna also enlisted the help of her daughter Lourdes and son Rocco, calling them her A&R. They frequently visited night clubs and were able to bring news about upcoming music and artists to her, which helped create the sounds she gravitated towards for the album.[28][30]
A generally pop record,[31] Rebel Heart was different from Madonna's releases in the last decade according to Bradley Stern from MuuMuse. He called it an "eclectic record" merging an array of musical genres like 1990s house, to trap, to reggae to usage of acoustic guitars. Stern felt that unlike chasing the current musical trends—like those of Hard Candy (2008) and MDNA—the album was progressive in its sound.[32] Adding to this, Mitchell Sunderland from Vice felt that Rebel Heart was a "lesson learned" from the critique Madonna had received for the last two albums.[33] Jed Gottlieb from Boston Herald found the album to continue Madonna's "increasingly interesting, innovative approach" by combining contemporary musical styles with her previous tastes. He found Rebel Heart to be an improvement from the generic dance tunes in MDNA.[34] For Jon Pareles fromThe New York TimesRebel Heart was like a sequel to MDNA in its composition, but while the later was marred with its cold mechanized vocals and cliché songwriting, the former was able to portray Madonna's musical abilities as someone "who ponders sin along with romance and fame".[35] Jay Lustig from The Record believed that Madonna had always lacked a thematic coherence with her previous endeavors. However, with the songs from Rebel Heart she was able to create potentially successful singles despite the different styles of the tracks, thereby maintaining consistency in the record.[36]

Music and lyrical interpretation

'Living for Love'
A 21-second sample of the opening track "Living for Love" featuring Madonna singing over "regal" piano sounds, accompanied by a gospel choir.

Problems playing this file? See media help.
Rebel Heart opens with the song "Living for Love". Composed in the house genre it begins with Madonna singing over a "regal" piano line, eventually joined by percussion.[37] Although a breakup song, "Living for Love" talks about being triumphant and hopeful.[26][38] According to Dean Piper from The Daily Telegraph, the song has "some classic Madonna traits: religious references, a gospel choir, 90s piano beats and a whirling bass". It was compared to her 1989 singles, "Like a Prayer" and "Express Yourself" by Jason Lipshutz from Billboard.[37][39][40] The second track, "Devil Pray", was inspired about how one would be enticed to partake of narcotics to achieve a higher level of consciousness and connect to God.[24] Lyrically it asks for salvation from a variety of drug abuses, making allusions to Saint Mary and Lucifer, as well as the pain of healing from drug abuse.[39][41] Produced by Madonna with Falk, Avicii, DJ Dahi and Blood Diamonds, "Devil Pray" starts with gentle guitar sounds which builds up to an electropop production, accompanied with a house beat.[38][42] "Ghosttown" talks about civilizations ending and the world encountering an armageddon, but human beings seeing hope among the destruction.[9][26] Written with Jason EviganEvan Bogart and Sean Douglas, it is a power ballad song, where Madonna sings in "piercing" and "warm" vocals like those of Karen Carpenter's, and the production comparable to her 1986 single, "Live to Tell".[43] According to Douglas, "Ghosttown" was written in three days, after Madonna personally requested studio time with him and the other songwriters.[44] Fourth track "Unapologetic Bitch" has reggaedancehall and dubstep influences, and is a ska song where Madonna speaks negatively about a break-up and her lover, in lyrics like, "It might sound like I'm an Unapologetic Bitch but sometimes you have to call it like it is."[39][43][45] Madonna explained that the song was about having fun irrespective of the situation one is.[26]
The fifth song, "Illuminati", was inspired after Madonna came to know that people alluded to her with the eponymous term. So she researched about the real Illuminati and wrote the song.[26][30] Lyrically it refers to the Illuminati conspiracy theory, the Egyptian pyramids, the Phoenix, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Eye of Providence among others, with the chorus lyrics: "It's like everybody in this party is shining like Illuminati".[40][46] According to Madonna, Kanye West who produced the track had loved the melody and changed the composition as he found best suited.[26] Minaj appears on the sixth track, "Bitch I'm Madonna", where she raps, asking everybody to "go hard or go home", while Madonna shouts lyrics like, "I just want to have fun tonight, I wanna blow up this house tonight". Produced by Diplo and Sophie, the track has a tearing sound alongside the "bleepy electro" and "churning dubstep" composition.[32][40][42] During the writing sessions Minaj had to rewrite the lyrics until she could get the correct sentiment per Madonna.[26] "Hold Tight" consists of an "arresting" chorus and a drum beat sound, described by Sam C. Mac of Slant Magazine as "innocuous, lyrically platitudinous pop that briefly works itself up into something exciting when it threatens to become a gospelized stomp."[29][47] Track eight, "Joan of Arc", is a ballad where Madonna talks about the media scrutiny of her life, singing "Each time they take a photograph, I lose a part of me I can't get back". It also references the Roman Catholic saint of the same name.[41][48] Madonna's hushed, vibrato-tinged vocals and confessional lyrics in "Joan of Arc" are enhanced by a new beat and utilizes strings in the bridge and acoustics.[29]
Kanye West wearing sunglasses raps into a microphone
Mike Tyson looking to the front
Kanye West (left) produced the tracks "Illuminati" and "Holy Water", while boxer Mike Tyson (right) had guest vocals on "Iconic"
"Iconic" features Chance the Rapper and boxer Mike Tyson. The latter had a spoken word introduction to the song, similar to his addition on Canibus' debut single, "Second Round K.O." (1998). Tyson was invited to the recording studio by Madonna, where he talked about his life and recorded it in one take.[49] Consisting of a "weird" beat, "Iconic" finds Madonna embracing herself as an icon through the lyrics.[29] "HeartBreakCity" follows "Iconic", and is a piano ballad talking about lost love with Madonna singing in deeper vocal register, inspired by baroque pop. Containing synths, banjo sounds and hollow drums, "Body Shop" describes love as a damaged car on the highway, requiring a body repairing to be alive.[50] West also produced the next track, "Holy Water", where the singer compares her bodily fluids to the title. With hedonistic sound effects, the song is reminiscent of Madonna's 1990 single, "Justify My Love" and contains a lyrical excerpt from "Vogue".[51] A bassline accompanies the chorus, consisting of moaning sounds, arcade game music and synths.[50] "Inside Out" is produced by Mike Dean, and features Madonna's vocals withreverb, accompanied by piano sounds and restrained chords. "Wash All Over Me" follows, and is the last track on the standard version. Baroque piano sounds and a steady military beat approaches the chorus as Madonna sings about the world changing, heartbreaks and accepting it. A gospel choir and minimum synths backs the song's composition.[50][51]
The deluxe version of Rebel Heart begins with the track "Best Night", an 80s electro composition reminiscent of Sade's songs with drums and Indian flute instrumentation. Madonna begins the song with the line, "You can call me M tonight" but her voice is not discernible on the chorus, only on the harmonies. There is reference to her previous single "Justify My Love" (1990) at one point in the intermediate bridge.[50] "Veni Vidi Vici" appears next, and is rap "origin story song" with its lyrics built around memorable moments off her career like, "I expressed myself, came like a virgin down the aisle / Exposed my naked ass, and I did it with a smile / And when it came to sex, I knew I walked the Borderline / and when I struck a pose, all the gay boys lost their minds". Madonna sings the chorus over simple guitar beats, uttering "I came, I saw, I conquered", the English translation of the song's title.[52] Nas appears for a guest verse talking about is own life as Diplo backs it with shotgun and crunching horn sounds. "S.E.X." is the next track where Madonna asks "Tell me what you know about sex" sarcastically over sounds of bass, synths and string arpeggio.[50] Near the end she enlists a number of bondage items like "Twisted rope, handcuffs, blindfold, string of pearls". Described as both an embodiment and critique of act, "S.E.X." talks about the lack of intimacy with Madonna rapping in a "dispassionate" voice; she purposely made it sound like she had a lisp in her articulation of the words.[53] One of the first tracks confirmed, "Messiah" is a dramatic pop ballad[54] with an orchestra backing and violins reminiscent of Madonna's 1986 single "Papa Don't Preach". Madonna employs a "deeper velvety" tone in her voice, with the lyrics talking about lighting candles and necromancy as well as casting spells of love. The title track finishes off the album and was changed completely from its leaked demo version. It consists of an acoustic guitar and violins, while the song itself is autobiographical. As Amy Pettifer of The Quietus noted, "'Rebel Heart' quietly [acknowledges Madonna's] part in building the scene and popularising stylistics that are the foundation of current trends... A bit of pop magic dug, nonetheless, from the depths of her rebel heart."[50]

Release, leaks, and artwork

In May 2014, photographer Mert Alas posted on his Instagram that he was listening to the album, but Billboard clarified that Madonna was still in the process of recording it in Los Angeles.[55] They later posted a 50-second snippet of an instrumental which media claimed to be from Madonna, but the sample was traced back to Dutch DJ Sander Kleinenberg and his song "We Are Superstars".[56][57] Oseary confirmed that Madonna looked forward to a 2015 release date for the album.[58] However on November 28, 2014, two songs leaked into the internet, titled "Rebel Heart" and "Wash All Over Me"; the songs were immediately taken down, with Oseary tweeting and asking assistance in finding the leaks.[59][60] On December 17, 2014, a total of 13 songs were leaked, including artwork suggesting the album to be named Iconic.[61] An aggravated Madonna clarified that the songs were demo versions from earlier recordings; she compared the leak to that of "artistic rape".[62][63] She was subsequently criticized for referring to the hack as "terrorism" in the wake of the Peshawar school attack and Sydney hostage crisis.[64] Madonna said in an interview with Billboard that after the leak, she and her team tried to trace it back to the source, but ultimately decided to release the finished songs.[9] Referring to the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack, she criticized the internet and explained that the incident led to securing her laptop and hard drives, while disabling the Wi-Fi. "I wanted to plan everything in advance. Release the single, shoot a video, start talking about my record. And you know, prepare for the release of the entire album and have everything set up just so... But we sort of were left with no choice," she added.[9]
Obviously there is a person, or a group of people behind this that were essentially terrorising me. I don't want to sound alarming, but certainly that's how I felt. It's one thing if someone comes into your house and steals a painting off your wall: that's also a violation, but, your work, as an artist, that's devastating... I'm sorry if words alarm people, but that's what it felt like. It was not a consensual agreement. I did not say 'hey, here's my music, and it's finished.' It was theft.
—Madonna talking about the leaks to Alexis Petridis of The Guardian.[30]
On December 20, 2014, the album became available for pre-order on iTunes Store. When ordered, six tracks (five in the United Kingdom) were automatically downloaded. Madonna stated that the songs were meant to be "an early Christmas gift" with the final release on March 10, 2015. Originally, "Living for Love" was intended to serve as the lead single from the album. It was to be released on Valentine's Day, with the rest of the record slated for the spring. However, due to the leak the release date had to be pushed up.[65] Oseary recalled that they did not receive a confirmation until Friday night whether the pre-release could be executed, since iTunes was closing for the Christmas weekend. After much discussion on the pros and cons of the release, and with the aid of Interscope vice-chairman Steve Berman, and Apple Inc.'s Robert Kondrk, they were able to go live slowly.[66] The six songs Madonna chose had to be polished, and since the producers of the tracks were unavailable, Madonna mastered and mixed them on her own.[67] The album's release was compared to Beyoncé's self-titled surprise release in 2013, with The Guardian calling it a "partial Beyoncé".[68] Still the leaks continued with 14 new demos being revealed from December 23–27.[69] Three new tracks—"Hold Tight", "Joan of Arc" and "Iconic" featuring Tyson and Chance the Rapper—became available following Madonna's Grammy performance.[70]
The final track list of Rebel Heart was revealed on January 20, 2015, with the standard and deluxe version song names.[71] A day later Israel Police arrested a man, suspecting him of hacking into Madonna, as well as other musician's computers, stealing and leaking content. Lahav 433, a crime-fighting umbrella organization from Israel had led a month-long investigation since the leaks happened, working closely with the FBI. Although Israel Police denied to name the suspect, media identified him as former reality show contestant Adi Lederman, who had participated in Israeli singing competition, Kokhav Nolad, season ten.[72][73] As the deluxe edition leaked in full,[74] Lederman was charged by Israel's Magistrate court on four counts: Computer trespassing, prohibited secret monitoring and additional computer trespassing, copyright Infringement and obstructing investigation. The investigation also revealed that Lederman was the one who had leaked the demo of Madonna's lead single from MDNA, "Give Me All Your Luvin'". Copies of songs including rehearsal recordings of upcoming performances of Madonna were sold for more than $1,000 to various clients.[75] He was ultimately sentenced to 14 months in prison at Tel Aviv.[76]
The cover art, featuring Madonna's face inter-crossed with black wires, became popular in social media resulting in numerous memes being created on Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter. Fans wound black wires across their face to look like the cover, and even created memes with the faces of other celebrities, including Britney SpearsMichael Jackson,Homer SimpsonJim CarreyMarlon Brando, and the Grinch.[77][78] Madonna herself forwarded many of the images on her social media accounts. However, three of the images—those of Martin Luther King Jr.Nelson Mandela and Bob Marley with the same wires around their face—was heavily criticized for being "disrespectful and racist".[79] The singer explained the photos the next day, saying that she was flattered for the comparison to the said people and relegated herself as a "freedom fighter".[80]


Live performances

Madonna confirmed her appearance at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2015; Oseary clarified that the singer would also perform at the ceremony.[81] The singer performed "Living for Love" wearing a one-piece outfit in matador red, surrounded by male dancers as Minotaurs similar to the song's music video. Forbes reported that Madonna's performance was the most-watched moment of the night.[82] Her effort to sing live without Auto-Tune during the choreographed performance was also heavily praised.[83][84][85] She also performed the song at the 2015 Brit Awards, on February 25, 2015.[86] However, in the early stages of the performance, a wardrobe malfunction caused her to be pulled down a flight of stairs that made up part of the stage. She later took to Instagram to confirm that she was well, posting "Thanks for the good wishes! I'm fine".[87] It was later revealed that her cape was tied too tight when her dancers attempted to remove it from her neck, causing her to crash to the floor and leaving the audience in shock. After several seconds, she continued the performance as planned.[88]
Madonna partnered with the gay dating app, Grindr, where a contest was held for five users of the app to be selected for an exclusive interview with the artist as promotion forRebel Heart. The contest included re-creating the artwork for Rebel Heart and post it as the Grindr profile picture. Other winners would receive signed copies of the album.[89] Joe Stone from The Guardian considered this to be a "savvy" promotional method, by directly connecting with the singer's gay audience.[90] On March 2 she appeared on France's Le Grand Journal show, performing an edited version of "Living for Love", as well as "Ghosttown" for the first time.[91] Following this, she travelled to Italy for an appearance on the television show Che tempo che fa, where she performed "Devil Pray" and "Ghosttown" while talking with host Fabio Fazio on numerous topics including the album's development process.[92] Another interview aired on The Today Show on March 9 and 10, 2015,[93] where she spoke about the Rebel Heart leaks to host Carson Daly.[94] Madonna appeared for the first time at The Howard Stern Show on March 11, 2015, scheduled at a special time for the singer.[95] She discussed about her life, and personal relationships, as well as confirmed "Ghosttown" as the second single from Rebel Heart.[96] She also appeared for her first UK television interview in three years, The Jonathan Ross Show on March 16, 2015, where she performed "Living for Love" and "Ghosttown".[97][98]
Madonna appeared and performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in US, for the entire week of March 16 to 20. Songs performed included "Living for Love" where DeGeneres herself joined the singer onstage,[99][100] a stripped down version of "Joan of Arc" and "Ghosttown",[101] and finally her 1985 single "Dress You Up", during the bathroom concert sequence with DeGeneres.[102] On March 29, 2015, Madonna performed "Ghosttown" at the 2nd iHeartRadio Music Awards at Los Angeles, where she was joined by singerTaylor Swift onstage playing guitar.[103][104] Two days later BBC's Jo Whiley interviewed her for Radio 2, the singer's first radio interview in the UK.[105] Madonna appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on April 9, 2015, singing "Bitch, I'm Madonna" and her 1983 single, "Holiday".[106][107][108]

Rebel Heart Tour

Numerous news outlets started reporting about the supporting concert tour for Rebel Heart. Italian newspaper Torino Today reported Madonna planning on returning to Turin on November 20 and 21, 2015, with the tour.[109] Canadian newspapers, La Presse and Le Journal de Montréal reported that Madonna's tour dates in Quebec City and Montreal had been decided. According to them, Madonna would be inaugurating a new arena in Quebec City, while the shows in Montreal would happen at the Bell Center.[110][111] The tour was titled as the Rebel Heart Tour, and is scheduled to take place in North America, Europe and Oceania, starting from September 9, 2015.[112][113] According to Billboard, Rebel Heart Tour would be an all-arena one, and would visit cities where Madonna has not performed before. Initial itinerary had 25–30 shows in North America and 20–25 shows in Europe, with additional dates being revealed later on. The tour will visit Australia and New Zealand in early 2016,[114] and will be the singer's first visit to Australia in more than 20 years, having last toured there with The Girlie Show World Tour in 1993, and her first time in New Zealand and Philippines.[115][116][117]

Critical response

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[118]
The A.V. ClubB–[119]
Billboard3.5/5 stars[54]
The Guardian3/5 stars[120]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[121]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[123]
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars[124]
USA Today3.5/4 stars[126]
Upon its release, Rebel Heart received positive reviews from critics.[127] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from music critics, the album received an average score of 68, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 29 critics.[128] The Daily Telegraph writer Neil McCormick, Andy Gill of The IndependentAllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine, and Lauren Murphy from The Irish Times all gave the album 4 out of 5 stars. McCormick felt that "For the first time in years, [Madonna] doesn't sound desperate", praising it in comparison to Hard Candy and MDNA.[129] Saeed called it "a fine collection of sturdy pop tunes in which Madonna finally allows herself to look back and sometimes pilfer from her peak periods of the late 80s and early 2000s".[51] Murphy wrote "the indisputable pop icon is back with a tentative bang" after MDNA had "few memorable pop hits".[130] For Gill, the most impressive factor about Rebel Heart was Madonna's vocals,[131] while Erlewine found Rebel Heart to be a revival of Madonna's defiant side and her confessional mood.[118]
Writing for The Quietus, Amy Pettifer praised the album, describing it as "a darker return to the club culture roots [for Madonna], and it seems – on some level – to face up to the missteps of her more recent releases."[50] Giving it 3.5 out of 4 stars, USA Today writer Elysa Gardner described the album's sound and lyrics as "piercingly direct".[126] Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot and Randall Roberts from Los Angeles Times awarded it 3 out of 4 stars. Kot believed that the album would have been better without the sexuality referencing songs, but still considered it to be a "fascinating"[132] while Roberts believed that the Rebel Heart stood out "sturdily" because of the production.[121] Writing for The Boston Globe, James Reed opined that Rebel Heart was a "welcome detour in the artist's recent discography... her most satisfying effort in a decade and nimbly connects the dots between Madonna's various eras and guises."[133] Critic Joey Guerra described Rebel Heart in Houston Chronicle positively as "a complex, consistently strong album".[134]
Slant Magazine editor Sal Cinquemani, Joe Levy from Billboard, and Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone all awarded the album 3.5 out of 5 stars. Cinquemani wrote the album was "all over the map", yet felt it was "a surprisingly coherent one".[124] Levy wrote that the album was "subtle" compared to "current standards", adding that "These songs unfold slowly, building through foreplay-like intros before hooks are displayed over a shifting series of textures."[54] Ganz felt that Rebel Heart "is at its strongest when Madonna shoves everyone to the side and just tells it to us straight", and added "Deep down, Madonna does have a rebel heart – and you can't fault her for reminding us that pop music is all the better for it".[123] Jamieson Cox from Time commended the album for being consistent in its production and sound, Madonna's vocals and songwriting.[135] Giving it a rating of B, Kyle Anderson and Adam Markovitz from Entertainment Weekly called Rebel Heart as "Madonna's best outing since 2000's Music".[31] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian and Time Out writer Nick Levine gave the album 3 out of 5 stars. Petridis felt that the two contrasting sides of the album did not "quite gel", reasoning that "the former might represent the music Madonna wants to make, while the latter is the music she feels obliged to make".[120] Levine wrote "'Rebel Heart' may lack cohesion, but she's definitely not down for the count: this contains some of the best music Madonna's made in a decade".[136]
Annie Zalesky from The A.V. Club said the album had its "fair share of those head scratching moments", but found it to be a move in the right direction musically.[119] Spin writer Andrew Unterberger gave the album a 6 out of 10 ranking. While describing the record as "clunky", Unterberger also wrote that it "contains a number of Madonna's best songs in years".[137] Writing for The New Zealand Herald, Lydia Jenkin gave a mixed review, deeming the album a bit of a mess" and "confused".[138] Lindsay Zoladz from New York was disappointed, feeling that Madonna sounded "safe" in the songs. She added that "The Madonna of Rebel Heart [has] succeeded once again in the increasingly empty goal of sounding current."[139] Gavin Haynes of NME panned the album, saying that the album "feels like a wasted opportunity. Trite self-empowerment anthem 'Iconic' informs us that there's only two letters difference between Icon and I Can't. Sadly, there are also two letters between class and ass."[122]

Commercial reception

According to Andrew Hampp from Billboard, the pre-order received warm response commercially after its release to iTunes Stores around the world. In the United States, three of the six released tracks debuted on Billboard‍ '​s Dance/Electronic Songs chart dated January 3, 2015—"Living for Love", "Bitch I'm Madonna", and "Unapologetic Bitch"—despite being available for two days.[67] The six songs have sold a combined 146,000 digital downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[140] The album's pre-orders were estimated at around 50,000 to 60,000 copies, according to industry prognosticators.[67] The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart with 121,000 equivalent album units, behind the soundtrack of the TV series Empire. Although Rebel Heart was the best-selling album of the week with pure album sales of 116,000 copies (96% of overall units), it fell behind the soundtrack when it came to streaming and track equivalent album units, with just over 1,000 and 4,000 respectively. It became Madonna's 21st top-ten album, but was her first studio release not to debut atop the chart since 1998's Ray of LightRebel Heart‍ '​s concert tour bundle amounted to less than 10,000 copies compared to the 180,000 copies sold for previous album, MDNA.[141] The release also prompted Madonna to debut at number 7 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart, moving up by 2,919% in overall Artist 100 points and gaining by 31% in social media activity.[142] In Canada, Rebel Heart debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart with 18,000 copies sold in the first week, making it her seventh number-one there during the SoundScan era.[143][144] The next week, the album dropped 19 places on the Billboard 200, while in Canada it dropped only one position.[145][146] Billboard reported that the sales dropped down by 78% to 26,000 units, due to the high pre-orders during first week.[147] The album gradually dropped down the next two weeks. On the fifth week it received a boost in sales from Madonna's appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, jumping from number 57 to 41 on theBillboard 200.[148]
In the United Kingdom, the Official Charts Company reported that Rebel Heart outsold its nearest competitors by a ratio of nearly 3:1, after just 24 hours on sale.[149] However,Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour pushed ahead at the last minute, and Rebel Heart debuted at number two with difference of 12,000 copies. It became Madonna's first studio album to miss the top spot since Bedtime Stories, which also debuted at number two in 1994.[150][151] The album sold 37,245 copies including 416 from streaming, becoming the lowest first week sales for a studio album by Madonna. However, she extended her lead as the biggest selling female artist of the 21st century in UK, with cumulative sales of 7.65 million copies.[152] Next week, the album dropped to number 7, with sales declining by 67.46% to 11,983 copies.[153] The album was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for selling over 60,000 copies and has sold 76,490 copies as of June 2015.[154][155] Rebel Heart debuted at the top of the German Albums Chart, becoming her twelfth chart-topping record there.[156] Madonna surpassed The Beatles and Robbie Williams as the foreign act with the most number-one albums in German chart history, and equalled Herbert Grönemeyer for the third rank overall, behind only Peter Maffay and James Last with 16 and 13 chart-toppers respectively.[157] In France, the album debuted at number three on the SNEP Albums chart, with three-day sales of 17,000 copies.[158][159] Rebel Heart also debuted at number one on the record charts in Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, as well as the top ten in the rest of European countries.[160][161][162]
In Australia, Rebel Heart debuted at the top of the ARIA Albums Chart with sales of 6,962 copies, becoming Madonna's eleventh number-one album in the country and tying her with U2, as the act with most number-one albums since the establishment of ARIA in 1983.[163][164] It became Madonna's 19th week atop the chart, ranking her at number 24 on the list of artists with most accumulated weeks at the top.[164] The album had a sharp drop the next week, selling 1,312 copies and climbing down to number 18 on the album chart.[165] In New Zealand, it debuted at number seven on the Official New Zealand Music Chart.[166] In Japan, Rebel Heart debuted at number eight on the Oricon Albums Chartwith first-week sales of 7,548 physical units, becoming her 23rd top-ten album there.[167] It also entered the Oricon International Albums Chart at number one, staying there for a second week.[168] In South Korea, Rebel Heart gave Madonna two top-ten entries simultaneously on the Gaon International Albums Chart, with the deluxe edition at number one and the standard edition at number seven.[169] As of May 2015, the album has sold an estimated 650,000 copies worldwide.[170]

Track listing

Rebel Heart – Standard edition[171][172]
1."Living for Love"  
  • Madonna
  • Thomas Wesley Pentz
  • Maureen McDonald
  • Toby Gad
  • Ariel Rechtshaid
  • Madonna
  • Diplo
  • Rechtshaid
2."Devil Pray"  
  • Madonna
  • Tim Bergling
  • Arash Pournouri
  • Carl Falk
  • Rami Yacoub
  • Savan Kotecha
  • Dacoury Natche
  • Michael Diamonds Tucker
  • Madonna
  • Avicii
  • DJ Dahi
  • Blood Diamonds
  • Madonna
  • Jason Evigan
  • Sean Douglas
  • Evan Bogart
  • Madonna
  • Billboard
  • Evigan
4."Unapologetic Bitch"  
  • Madonna
  • Pentz
  • McDonald
  • Gad
  • Shelco Garcia
  • Bryan Orellana
  • Madonna
  • Diplo
  • Rechtshaid
  • Shelco Garcia & Teenwolf
  • Madonna
  • McDonald
  • Gad
  • Larry Griffin Jr.
  • Mike Dean
  • Kanye West
  • Tommy Brown
  • Madonna
  • West
  • Dean
  • Charlie Heat[a]
6."Bitch I'm Madonna(featuring Nicki Minaj)
  • Madonna
  • Pentz
  • McDonald
  • Gad
  • Rechtshaid
  • Onika Maraj
  • Samuel Long
  • Madonna
  • Diplo
7."Hold Tight"  
  • Madonna
  • Pentz
  • McDonald
  • Gad
  • Uzoechi Emenike
  • Philip Meckseper
  • Madonna
8."Joan of Arc"  
  • Madonna
  • McDonald
  • Gad
  • Griffin Jr.
  • Madonna
  • Gad
  • AFSHeeN
  • Josh Cumbee
9."Iconic" (featuring Chance the Rapper and Mike Tyson)
  • Madonna
  • McDonald
  • Gad
  • Griffin Jr.
  • Chancelor Bennett
  • Natche
  • Tucker
  • Madonna
  • Gad
  • AFSHeeN
  • Cumbee
  • Madonna
  • Bergling
  • Pournouri
  • Tobias Jimson
  • Michel Flygare
  • Paloma Stoecker
  • Salem Al Fakir
  • Magnus Lidehäll
  • Vincent Pontare
  • Madonna
  • Avicii
  • Fakir
  • Lidehäll
  • Pontare
  • Astma & Rocwell
11."Body Shop"  
  • Madonna
  • McDonald
  • Gad
  • Griffin Jr.
  • Natche
  • Tucker
  • Madonna
  • Gad
  • DJ Dahi
  • Blood Diamonds
12."Holy Water"  
  • Madonna
  • Martin Kierszenbaum
  • Natalia Kills
  • Dean
  • West
  • Brown
  • Madonna
  • West
  • Dean
  • Heat[a]
13."Inside Out"  
  • Madonna
  • Evigan
  • Douglas
  • Bogart
  • Dean
  • Madonna
  • Dean
14."Wash All Over Me"  
  • Madonna
  • Bergling
  • Pournouri
  • Fakir
  • Lidehäll
  • Pontare
  • Dean
  • West
  • Brown
  • Madonna
  • Avicii
  • West
  • Dean
  • Heat[a]
Total length:
  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer

Credits and personnel

Credits adapted from Madonna official website.[172]
  • Madonna – vocals
  • Nicki Minaj – vocals
  • Chance the Rapper – vocals
  • Mike Tyson – vocals
  • Nas – vocals
  • DJ Dahi – additional vocals (outro)
  • MNEK – background vocals
  • Santell – background vocals
  • London Community Gospel Choir – background vocals
  • Jason Evigan – background vocals
  • Salem Al Fakir – background vocals
  • Vincent Pontare – background vocals, additional background vocals
  • Toby Gad – additional background vocals
  • MoZella – additional background vocals
  • Alicia Keys – piano
  • Toby Gad – musician, guitars, programming, instruments, additional programming
  • Carl Falk – guitars, keyboards, programming
  • Avicii – keyboards, programming
  • Shelco Garcia & Teenwolf – musician
  • Diplo – musician
  • Salem Al Fakir – marching drumskeys, guitars
  • Mike Dean – guitar, keyboards and drum programming, key bass, additional programming
  • Abel Korzeniowski – electric cello
  • L.A. Orchestra – musician
  • Joacim Ottebjork – bass
  • AFSHeeN – musician, programming, instruments
  • Josh Cumbee – musician, programming, instruments
  • Stephen Kozmeniuk – musician, programming, instruments
  • Dan Warner – programming, instruments (guitar)
  • Lee Levin – programming, instruments
  • DJ Dahi – programming
  • Michael Diamonds – programming
  • Magnus Lidehäll – programming
  • Demacio "Demo" Castellon – additional programming
Technical personnel
  • Madonna – production
  • Diplo – production
  • Ariel Rechtshaid – production
  • Avicii – production
  • DJ Dahi – production, additional production
  • Blood Diamonds – production, additional production
  • Billboard – production
  • Jason Evigan – production
  • Shelco Garcia & Teenwolf – production
  • Kanye West – production
  • Mike Dean – production, mixing, engineering
  • Charlie Heat – production, co-production
  • Toby Gad – production, mixing
  • AFSHeeN – production
  • Josh Cumbee – production
  • Salem Al Fakir – production, orchestra editing
  • Magnus Lidehäll – production
  • Vincent Pontare – production, vocal editing
  • Astma & Rocwell – production
  • Carl Falk – production
  • Travis Scott – additional production
  • Demacio "Demo" Castellon – engineeringmixing
  • Nick Rowe – engineering
  • Angie Teo – mixing, additional recording, additional mixing
  • Ann Mincieli – additional recording
  • Ron Taylor – additional Pro Tools editing
  • Noah Goldstein – engineering, mixing
  • Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine – engineering
  • Zeke Mishanec – additional recording
  • Rob Suchecki – additional recording


Chart (2015)
  • Peak
  • position
Argentine Monthly Albums (CAPIF)[180]9
Australian Albums (ARIA)[181]1
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[182]1
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[183]1
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[184]2
Brazilian Albums (ABPD)[185]4
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[186]1
Croatian Albums (HDU)[187]3
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[160]1
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[188]2
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[161]1
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[189]2
French Albums (SNEP)[190]3
German Albums (Official Top 100)[156]1
Greek Albums (IFPI)[162]3
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[191]1
Irish Albums (IRMA)[192]5
Italian Albums (FIMI)[193]1
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[167]8
Japanese International Albums (Oricon)[168]1
Korean International Albums (Gaon)[169]
Deluxe version
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[166]7
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[194]2
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[195]5
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[196]1
Russian Albums (2M)[197]2
Scottish Albums (OCC)[198]3
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[199]1
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[200]10
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[201]1
UK Albums (OCC)[202]2
US Billboard 200[203]2


Italy (FIMI)[204]Platinum50,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[205]Gold10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[154]Silver76,490[155]
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history

AustraliaMarch 6, 2015CDDeluxeUniversal Music[206]
  • Standard
  • deluxe
  • super deluxe
  • Media Markt standard and deluxe
FranceMarch 9, 2015
  • Standard
  • deluxe
  • super deluxe
  • Fnac deluxe
New Zealand
  • Standard
  • deluxe
  • super deluxe
Universal Music[209]
United KingdomPolydor[211]
CanadaMarch 10, 2015
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Universal Music[212]
United States
  • Standard
  • deluxe
  • super deluxe
  • LP
  • Boy Toy
  • Live Nation
  • Interscope
WorldwideDigital download
  • Standard
  • deluxe
JapanMarch 11, 2015CDDeluxeUniversal Music[215]
March 18, 2015Super deluxe[216]
GermanyMarch 27, 2015LPDeluxe[217]
FranceMarch 30, 2015Polydor[219]
United KingdomStandard[220]

See also

  • List of number-one albums of 2015 (Australia)
  • List of number-one hits of 2015 (Austria)
  • List of number-one albums of 2015 (Canada)
  • List of number-one hits of 2015 (Germany)
  • List of number-one hits of 2015 (Italy)
  • List of number-one albums of 2015 (South Korea)
  • List of number-one albums of 2015 (Spain)
  • List of number-one hits of 2015 (Switzerland)
  • List of Download Chart number-one albums of 2010s (UK)